Friday, August 24, 2012

Air Conditioning, Mankind's Greatest Achievement?

As much as I will whine about being too cold, being too hot makes me want to bite someone, and not in a good way. Luckily I reside in one of the more temperate zip codes in one of the most temperate climates in the country. For the most part, the parts of it that are less temperate have AC.

I don't.

Why? Well every year we get two weeks or so where it's miserable spread out between August and late September, and even then unlike other places it's guaranteed to cool off at night that at some point I'll be reaching for the comforter. I actually prefer fresh air to AC if I can at all, and would love to have a place with an old-fashioned California "Sleeping Porch": a second-floor covered and screened balcony older houses had for sleeping in the summer.

The only place that I really love AC is in the car. My current car is a venerable Civic which gets almost hybrid-like gas mileage, mostly due to the fact it's likely made out of gum-wrapper thin metal and has an engine that is perhaps powered by bees. Well, it sounds like it anyway. It does have an air conditioner, which does cool the air somewhat if given a big head-start. It's sort of like someone holding an ice cube in their palm and blowing on it into your face.

From across the street.

I remember one particular time having met my BFF Sue at the Huntington Library in San Marino to see the Corpse Flower bloom, and to wander the gardens on one of those blazing dry Pasadena days where you could start a fire by rubbing your hair briskly. She got into her New Beetle with the good AC and I got in my Honda, which, had I thought ahead I could have left bread dough in to arrive to a nice snack. I think I was at the Fairfax exit on the 10 before the temp was anything close to human and I believe I sweated through my wallet.

As I wrote, her car had the good AC- I've tested it. But the number one champs in the Air Conditioning department are the Americans. I've had more experience with General Motors, since my parents were confirmed GM people and I've driven several Cadillacs over the years. They had a system you would dial a temperature into and upon starting the car it would do it's level best to get you there. So if you were parked in an open lot in the Valley for four hours and had it set at 62° it will be a blast chiller freezing your face off until you either change the setting or it was darned we'll 62° in apparently the package shelf.

I assume that is why they now have remote start. I'd love to find out.

Having tested a Chevy Volt I did like one of the features that wasn't remote start: pressing and holding the unlock button on the remote would open all four windows to their fullest to help cool off the car. I loved that and used it a lot. Of course that week the temps were in the mid-70's. They also do remote start, but suggest that it's done while plugged in to use the plugs power to "pre-condition" the interior before unplugging and driving off.

Yes, I still have that Civic. Yes, the AC is still unimpressive. So a lot of the time I take the MTA. While it moves at a glacial pace to get you where you want to go (4 hours round trip to the Marina? Really?) at least it's glacial in temps as well. Because I don't need to sweat through another wallet..

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Today Was Mimi's Birthday

My friend Mimi Monette would be 98 today. I'm not going to rehash her whole life here, you can read the post I put up upon her death. I'm not really sorry that she's gone, since her world became smaller and smaller as she got older, and at the end even though she remained as cheerful and engaged as she ever was I could tell that she was ready for this chapter of her life, with health issues and home care and a lack of mobility to be finished.

What I do miss is the amount of fun I had with her.

In a way. Mimi was like Auntie Mame (although she might not like the comparison- Mame was a bit vulgar, and Miss Muriel Monette was never, ever vulgar..) in that conformity was something that she loathed. The social rules governing what women could or could not do, mind you, not the idea of manners or standards or taste. She didn't see any particular reason why she shouldn't take a couple weeks off to South America to study native fauna with a male friend and if you thought there was something dirty there, well that was really about you, not her.

One of the things I remember most about her was her love of Los Angeles, and of California, in the way that perhaps only non-natives (Mimi was from Oregon and moved here in her late teens) can have. We know where we came from and even may have fond memories, but don't want to go back. She had stories of going to UCLA back in the day when the stretch of Sunset between Crescent Heights and the Beverly Hills border was unpaved.

Mimi especially loved the coast, and would spend her rare free time painting the beaches. There was one particular painting of a guards shack that I loved and wonder what happened to. I hope her family has given it pride of place. I would have loved to have it, but I couldn't possibly have asked for it. It would be a breach of manners that Mimi would never comment upon, but I'd know.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Forgive Me, I've Been Bad..

I know I haven't been posting a whole lot on here; I'll try to be better for the three of you that might still be paying attention. A lot has been going on in my little existence. My time on Team Beverly Hills was a wonderful experience, and I'm glad that several friends of mine (including my Sis) will be in the 2012 class. I've become more involved in local issues and have become better friends with my neighbors. My time on the Human Relations Commission has been very rewarding.

Attached is a picture of my "graduation" from Team BH, with Vice-Mayor Brien and Mayor Brucker. I've disagreed with Mayor Brucker in the past on some issues, but really do have to write that he has been generous, supportive and genuinely kind to me; while I might continue to disagree with him, I appreciate that.

Of course, a big thank to Lili Bosse who sponsored me for Team BH 2011. She really is one of the best people I know. Also to former Mayor Nancy Krasne who appointed me to the BHHRC. I still can't think of anyone else I'd rather be pinned by.

Photo: Dunno. Given to me?